Namibia: Alexander Attacks Root of Extradition Request

April 12, 2012

AllAfrica.com on April 12, 2012 released the following:

“BY WERNER MENGES

ISRAELI-BORN businessman Jacob ‘Kobi’ Alexander took his fight against a request for his extradition to the United States of America right to the heart of the matter in the High Court in Windhoek yesterday.

The specification of the United States as a country to which people can be extradited from Namibia is unconstitutional and should in any event not apply to Alexander, the leader of Alexander’s legal team, South African senior counsel Peter Hodes, argued during a hearing before Judge Kato van Niekerk.

If Alexander and his legal team succeed with their attack on the specification of the US in terms of the Extradition Act it could be the end of the extradition request which led to his arrest in Windhoek about five and a half years ago.

Alexander (59), who is free on bail of N$10 million, is wanted in the US on 35 criminal charges connected to allegations that he had committed fraud with the receipt of options to obtain shares in Comverse Technology Inc, a New York-based company that he had helped found in 1982 and ran until early in 2006.

He and his family have been living in Namibia since late July 2006. They previously lived in New York City.

The US authorities are alleging that Alexander became a fugitive from American justice in July 2006.

The proclamation through which the US was specified as a country to which the extradition of people from Namibia may be affected was signed by President Hifikepunye Pohamba on August 31 2006.

The proclamation was published in the Government Gazette on September 27 2006. Alexander was arrested in Windhoek on the same date.

All of the alleged acts over which the US authorities want Alexander to be extradited date from the period between January 1998 and March 2006.

Alexander is opposing the extradition request. He is denying that he is guilty of the charges filed against him in the US, and has stated that if he is ever extradited, he would “vigorously contest” those charges.

In the case in which Judge Van Niekerk started hearing arguments yesterday Alexander is asking the court to declare that the proclamation specifying the US as a country to which people can be extradited from Namibia is inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid to the extent that it applies to any request for Alexander’s extradition to the US.

In the alternative to that part of his application Alexander is asking the court to review and set aside the President’s decision to issue the proclamation.

He is also asking the court to declare that the proclamation does not give the US the status of a country to which persons can be extradited from Namibia.

He is further asking the court to review and set aside the decision of the Minister of Justice, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, to authorise Windhoek Regional Court Magistrate Dinnah Usiku to conduct the extradition enquiry in respect of the request for Alexander’s surrender to the US authorities.

Hodes argued that the proclamation was issued in order to result in the arrest of Alexander and to set in motion extradition proceedings against him – all of which resulted in a limitation of his constitutional rights.

He pointed out that in a letter which Iivula-Ithana – at that stage holding office as both Minister of Justice and Attorney General – wrote to the President on August 21 2006 she stated that the US would in due course be asking Namibia to surrender a fugitive who was wanted in the US, and that the US should for that reason be specified as a country for extradition in terms of the Extradition Act.

That letter indicated that the proclamation was aimed at Alexander – and for that reason, the proclamation is unconstitutional, Hodes argued.

He based this argument on an article of the Constitution which states that any law limiting any fundamental rights or freedoms protected by the Constitution must be of general application and “shall not be aimed at a particular individual”.

“Here it is aimed at a specific individual. That makes the proclamation unconstitutional,” Hodes said.

Senior counsel Wim Trengove, representing the President, Justice Minister and Prosecutor General, readily agreed that Alexander’s case had been the trigger for the proclamation. That does not make the proclamation unconstitutional, though, he argued.

The proclamation is not intended to operate only in relation to Alexander, and not for all similar extradition matters involving the US in future, Trengove argued.

Alexander’s situation brought to the fore the need to specify the US as a country in terms of the Extradition Act, Trengove said. “That is how legislation happens,” he remarked.

The interpretation which Alexander’s legal team has attached to the proclamation is fundamentally flawed, he argued.

The hearing of arguments is scheduled to continue today.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Priest on the lam in assault of Minnesota girl arrested in India

March 21, 2012

Chicago Tribune on March 20, 2012 released the following:

Alleged victim says she’d still testify against him if he’s extradited

By David Jackson and Gary Marx, Chicago Tribune reporters

A fugitive Roman Catholic priest has been arrested in India after seven years on the run from charges that he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old Minnesota girl who sought his advice about becoming a nun.

The Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul’s case was included in a March 11 story in the Tribune. His alleged victim, Megan Peterson, who is now 22, said in an interview Monday that she was taken off guard by the arrest after so many years of waiting.

“I find it quite ironic that we did that interview and then a week later he is in handcuffs,” Peterson said. “I wasn’t expecting it to happen this fast.”

Peterson said she was still firmly committed to testifying against Jeyapaul if he is extradited to Minnesota to face trial. “I am ready — it’s about time,” she said. “If my voice can help, then I’ll be there.”

The Tribune does not usually name victims of sexual abuse, but Peterson has chosen to speak publicly about her allegations, saying she hopes it will help others.

In the past, Jeyapaul has asserted his innocence and continued to serve as a priest in India, where he was prohibited from direct contact with children.

He was arrested Friday and is being held pending a formal U.S. request for his extradition, to be filed in New Delhi, The Associated Press reported.

In Minnesota, Roseau County Attorney Karen Foss said she had little more information. The U.S. Justice Department declined comment Monday, as did the Crookston Diocese in Minnesota.

Jeyapaul is one of at least 32 Roman Catholic priests nationwide who, the Tribune found, have fled to foreign countries since 1985 while facing criminal charges or being investigated over allegations that they sexually assaulted or abused youths in the United States. Only five of them have been returned to the U.S. to face trial.

Like many other international fugitives traced by the Tribune as part of its “Fugitives From Justice” investigation, priests accused of sexual misconduct often returned to their hometowns and did little to conceal their identities or whereabouts, the newspaper found.

Efforts to extradite another priest who fled to his native India, the Rev. Sleeva Raju Policetti, have dragged on for nearly a decade. Policetti was charged in 2002 with 20 counts of criminal sexual assault and abuse of a 16-year-old Chicago girl, though the charges are now in jeopardy because a lawyer for the alleged victim has indicated she may not want to pursue prosecution.

The potential end to that case offers an example of how an opaque and slow-moving international extradition system can derail justice, leaving suspects accused of serious crimes free when they find haven in foreign countries.

In the Jeyapaul case, Peterson said she was 14 and had just started high school when he came to her church sometime in fall 2004. “I met him very briefly,” she said.

Peterson said she would go to church in the mornings to pray, and Jeyapaul expressed interest in a book she was reading.

“I didn’t know him that well, but I trusted him with him being a priest,” she said. “The abuse happened quite fast.

“I (would) be surprised if there weren’t more people in India who were affected by his actions. I hope that justice will prevail, and we get him back to the United States and get him away from vulnerable kids.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and India here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.